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Man injured after falling from cliff into volcano caldera

ABC News logo ABC News 5/2/2019

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Video by Associated Press

A man has been injured after he fell into the caldera of the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island, according to officials.

The man fell from a 300-foot cliff after climbing over a permanent metal railing at the Steaming Bluff overlook to get closer to the edge, according to a press release from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. He was rescued by park rangers.

(MORE: Satellite images show effects of Kilauea volcano's latest eruption on Hawaii's Big Island)

Another visitor reported that the man had fallen around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Search-and-rescue crews found him alive but seriously injured on a narrow ledge about 70 feet down from the cliff around 9 p.m., officials said. 

The 32-year-old man, whose name has not been released, is an active soldier in the U.S. Army, officials said. His unit was on the island for field training at Pohakuloa Training Area.

Rescue crews were able to extract him from the ledge using ropes and a helicopter from the Department of Defense, according to the park. He was then airlifted to Hilo Medical Center for urgent care.

(MORE: 'They're all gone,' woman says of family members lost in aftermath of Guatemala volcano eruption)
A caldera is a cauldron-shaped hollow that forms after a large volume of magma erupts in a short period of time. Last year, a series of eruptions at the Kilauea volcano prompted widespread evacuations in the surrounding areas. Kilauea is one of five volcanoes on the Big Island and is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

smoke coming out of it: An aerial view of Kilauea Volcano's summit caldera and an ash plume billowing from Halema'uma'u, a crater within the caldera, in Hawaii, May 27, 2018. © Civil Air Patrol/USGS via Reuters, FILE An aerial view of Kilauea Volcano's summit caldera and an ash plume billowing from Halema'uma'u, a crater within the caldera, in Hawaii, May 27, 2018.

The last fatal fall in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park occurred on Oct. 29, 2017, officials said.

(MORE: Philippines volcano seen from space in satellite images)

"Visitors should never cross safety barriers, especially around dangerous and destabilized cliff edges,” Chief Ranger John Broward said in a statement. “Crossing safety barriers and entering closed areas can result in serious injuries and death.”

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